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I5 build for Education/Development/Virtualization

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March 2, 2010 1:48:54 PM

Hi All,

Noob here. I am looking to build a system for learning and possible future development. I want to start building ASAP.

PRICE RANGE: $700 - $900

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: SQL Server 2008 and Oracle 10 or 11g, Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008 (via virtualization), Microsoft Office, music/movies/internet.


PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com or TigerDirect.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: Right now, I am looking at Core i5 750. However, I am not locked onto Intel or AMD. My main issue is choosing a motherboard that fully supports virtualization.

OVERCLOCKING: Probably not

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Probably not, I don't plan on gaming

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Not a big issue for me, 1920 x 1080 sounds fine to me.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I am trying to learn as much as I can about client/server architecture as well as database technologies using a single machine. Like I said, I don't care whether it is Intel or AMD, performance is the only thing that matters to me. I was also debating running Windows Server 2008 on one hard drive and Windows 7 Professional on another, but then I started looking into virtualization since I won't be using this for production. I am also skeptical about the Foxconn sockets on the 1156 motherboards. Is this really a big deal or was it blown out of proportion?
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Parts List:

CPU - Core i5 750 194.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOBO - ASUS P7P55D PRO 169.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

RAM - G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) 114.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HDD - SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache 89.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Optical - ASUS CD/DVD Burner with super long description 26.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Case - Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail 69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

PSU - Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified 69.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total: 736.93

Any suggestions are appreciated. This is my first build and I like what I see in this forum, so I thought I would post here.

Thanks,
D
March 2, 2010 9:59:37 PM

Any motherboard that supports an Intel i5-750 or a Quad core AMD will support virtualization as long as the CPU does. What OS will you use and what virtualization solution?

To be honest, 4GB of memory isn't enough for what you want to do. I use 8GB on my servers and I have to be careful not to start too many VMs. You also want several hard disks; a single hard disk will be a serious bottleneck. At a minimum you want a boot disk and one for your VMs.
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March 3, 2010 1:21:22 AM

what ghislaing said is right you need more RAM and more HDD. Perhaps this amd build will be better suited for you.

AMD athlon II x4 630
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MSI 785GM-e51
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

intel x25-m 80GB g2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

the rest of your parts are fine. This build will have lower processing ability which is fine as most servers don't need ass loads of cpu anyway. the savings could be spent on a SSD drive which you could load your VMs. the inte ssd should be able to handle a few vms as long as you use the 1TB drive for boot. I would also get another set of ram for a total of 8GB
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March 3, 2010 3:49:56 AM

Thank you for your responses. I have been very confused in trying to come up with a solution. I am better with software than I am with hardware. I am starting to lean towards AMD. Are the Athlon processors preferred for this kind of use?

For my operating system, I WAS set on Windows 7 Professional, but I keep second guessing that decision in favor of XP Pro. For virtualization, I have only looked into VirtualBox since it is open source, but I am still learning about how it all works, so any suggestions are appreciated. I just want to dabble in Windows Server 2008, Oracle 10 or 11g, and SQL Server 2008. I am taking classes that use this software right now and I can't make school lab hours, so I want to practice at home to stay ahead in my studies.

So you are saying I should use the 1TB drive for Windows 7 and purchase a second drive (preferably SSD) to run my VMs? What capacity should I seek with the second HD? So this means that I will install my Virtualization Solution on the SSD and my main drive will be used for my everyday use?

Please forgive my ignorance, I just want to do this right the first time. I am going to revise my build and post it shortly. Thanks again.
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March 3, 2010 4:44:41 AM

I know windows xp won't see more then 4GB of ram but I don't know if it will allow the virtual machines to use rest. With support for win xp x64 almost non existent I would use windows 7 x64 pro or ultimate.

Windows 7 pro/ultimate have a virtual machine client available for them, it's a updated version of virtual pc 2007. I've used them both and like them a lot but I can't compare the, to virtual box. Virtual PC 2007 and Windows Virtual PC don't seem to allocate much cpu time to the virtual machine though. Might be a problem if your virtual machine sees a ton of action.

How I would setup the HDD and the SSD would depend on how many virtual machines I intended to have running and what each machine would do.

SSD
Host OS w/ sql server, oracle, visual studio and office

1TB HDD
100GB partion w/ windows server

900GB Storage Drive. (indexing disabled.)
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March 3, 2010 5:43:49 AM

With the same motherboard (socket 1156) that supports the i5, you could get an i7-860, which has hyperthreading, which would be useful for most of your intended purposes. Just something to consider.
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March 3, 2010 11:27:46 AM

The virtual machine in Windows 7 is not a suitable virtualization solution for the OP. XP's 3.25 GB limit is a serious issue when running VMs. If the OP has access to Windows Server 2008, it would make sense to use it and then virtualize using either VMware server or Hyper-V. At a minimum, 8 GB of memory and at least one hard disk dedicated to VMs is recommended for acceptable performance.
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March 4, 2010 4:05:02 AM

Ok, I have revised my build and will probably pull the trigger tomorrow. Let me know what you think.

CPU: AMD II Athlon x4 630 Propus 102.99
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H 84.99
RAM: 2XG.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 217.98
SSD: Kingston SSDNow V Series SNV425-S2/64GB 2.5" 64GB 141.00
HDD: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache 89.99
PSU & Case Combo: Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail & Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply - Retail 119.98

Total with shipping is $756.93.

I am planning to install Windows 7 Pro on the SSD with my basic productivity programs. On the HDD, I plan on partitioning 100GB to run Windows Server 2008 with the rest of that drive going to storage. If you have any advice on my configuration, I am all ears...

For virtualization, I am still doing my research on solutions and I am still thoroughly confused. I was looking at XenServer by Citrix and it almost seems like you would dedicate an entire machine to use it. Maybe it's too much for my needs. I could probably dedicate a new thread to this and I will most likely have to.

I appreciate your feedback, I am starting to feel a little more comfortable.

-D
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March 4, 2010 5:15:10 AM

For messing with networking on a introductory to intermediate level I would say that either Windows Virtual PC or Virtual Box is good place to start. They're free. I lke the build overall. However condsidering windows 7 can take up to 25gigs on install. (16GB just for the page file) I would spend the extra 60 for the intel 80GB SSD, but there is no reason this build should be able to handle up to 3-5 virtual machines depending on usage.
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